A Florida Reprieve

I would like to report to all readers here that Florida has once again has come to my rescue, this time after spending the past month or so conducting a thorough research effort here in Boston directed toward completing my doctoral thesis upon the finer points of the species better known as The Common Snow Shovel. To save time and not reinvent the wheel that Milton, one of my best nude hiking buddies has just created, I have reposted from his post that he made elsewhere yesterday about our naked rambles spent together this past week while based at Sunsport near West Palm Beach. He hosted me through the week and his is a most accurate account. My account and comments follow the initial quote.

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Dan left Sunsport this morning following our very busy week of active naturist exploration together. On Thursday afternoon (March 12), we walked the Hungryland Boardwalk in the JW Corbett Wildlife Management Area, as well as the section of the Florida Trail that starts from the same parking area. On Friday we paddled the South Fork of the St Lucie River. On Saturday we explored gorgeous new (to us) terrain, hiking 10 miles without ever putting clothes on in the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area, about 30 miles south of Lake Okeechobee. On Sunday we went to the Blind Creek nude beach at the northern tip of one of the Atlantic barrier islands along the mid-coast and walked further south along the beach than I had ever done before, finally turning around when it seemed we would begin to contact more than a few textiles -- about 1.5 miles each way. On Monday we went back to a different section of DuPuis and walked about 7 miles, much of it in a thick cypress swamp, following the orange-blazed Florida Trail. On Tuesday we hiked 2.8 miles in the northern section of the Grassy Waters Preserve. I had done this previously with other friends textile. This time we were nude, much of it along a levee that, being an out-and-back extension of a more popular loop trail, saw very little traffic. We finished up by exploring another totally new area, the Hungryland Wildlife and Environmental Area -- not to be confused with the Hungryland Boardwalk at Corbett -- but found that it had been recently burned and was, apart from one watersnake sighting, not very interesting. Next year our agenda for further exploration should include the trails accessed from the northern entrance to JW Corbett WMA.

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IMHO opinion the sections of the Florida Trail that pass through the DuPuis preserve and the northernmost section of the Corbet preserve that we did walk into from the DuPuis side are amongst the prettiest and most rewarding sections of the trail that I have experienced to date. Hiking in Florida is quite easy compared to hiking in the Northeast where there are things that we called mountains, not to be confused with the Alps. All present challenges. The challenge in Florida is finding your rhythm and learning to feel and appreciate the subtle texture of the expansive landscape that surrounds you. I have been poking fun at another online buddy from Florida about the challenging altitude gains and losses to be found on the trails in his beautiful state. In his defense, he did point out correctly that the highest elevations, about 100ft above sea level, are to be found along the Florida Highland Ridge near where he lives. The ridge, an ancient geological feature that has formed the backbone and provided much of the foundation to the environmental character of the state through former times of both high and low ocean water levels. My companion and I were hiking in a part of the state a bit further south where the trail gradients are not quite as severe :=). In fact our trail footing was at or below local water table much of the time.

As an added bonus, we were able to hike these areas totally nude (and often barefoot) for entire days with daily mileages hitting as much as ten miles as noted above without ever having to reach into our small daypacks for any coverup. The only place mentioned above that I would not personally recommend from our experience for nudity is the Grassy Waters Preserve that is actually located within the city limits of West Palm Beach. We were able to enjoy it nude that particular morning with little trouble, but it was and is likely to always be one of those looking-over-your shoulder-behind and looking far ahead nude hiking experiences. It is simply too accessible and too well developed with amenities to qualify in my opinion as a nude hiking venue. Most of our other travels brought us to places where we simply stepped out of the car still naked from our drive to, grabbed our packs and carried on without ever pausing to remember that there was a Running Kilt stuffed somewhere into the bottom of each. In fact, one of those days, I accidentally set forth without one in my pack. I had worn mine briefly earlier that day into a Subway shop while purchasing a sandwich to carry with me on the hike only to then leave the garment under the front seat of the car. I did not discover my oversight till the evening upon our return to Sunsport.

We lucked out with the bugs as well hitting the season just as the temps were pushing from the mid eighties into the low nineties and between some rains such that while everything was greening up very nicely and the sun was warm, there were very few bugs encountered. On two occasions, we found ourselves splashing through ankle to knee deep water cutting for several miles in each case directly through gorgeous cypress swamps, threading our way past the numerous cypress knees (air roots) the trees themselves draped with brilliant orchids and lazy spanish moss hanging everywhere that one looked. Bird life was in abundance. Woodpeckers worked the trees above our heads while flickers and songbirds flitted through the understory, repeated sightings of egrets, ibis, blue herons, turkey vultures, kestrels being the most notable by day when we were out hiking and paddling. We often stopped to admire many colorful varieties of butterflies, dragonflies, and small lizards. Gators were common enough to become just part of the scenery. Bullfrogs serenaded the gators with their deep throated barks as the afternoons progressed. There was plenty of evidence of feral hog activity, and enough tracks to support the notion that armadillos, raccoons, bobcats, and panthers are active there at night.

I was also able to restore some very nice all over, line free color without any serious burning. I am pleased to have been able to accomplish this in such a short but intense time under that great sun, thanks to some careful application of Banana Boat SPF-50 once every morning. However I notice now as I sit in my office writing this dispatch, that my butt is itching in that warm but pleasant way that can only be traced back to the sun. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

-Dan

PS. I returned to Boston wearing the very same clothes on that flight, a kilt and a tee shirt and a pair of VFFs, that I wore on the plane down the week before because I brought no other street clothing with me for the week. My Running Kilt and a beater sufficed for pumping gas and running into the Publix supermarkets for provisions. Sunsport of course required no clothing of any kind. My small daypack the one that I use for commuting to the office every day easily carried the few toiletries and other personal items that I needed for the week. How I do enjoy going through the TSA lines with so little for them to look at.

I will see if I can sort through the mountain of photos that accompanied me back and pick a few to post here soon.

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